Pibor authorities warn of looming hunger
Local officials have raised alarm over looming hunger in parts of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) as communities in the region are unable to farm due to a lack of seeds.
Sabila Joseph, the GPAA Agriculture minister, told Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday that they are already hit by hunger and that the situation could only worsen in the coming months if locals are not able to cultivate.
“As you all know, our area was affected by floods and inter-communal violence. This diminished the morale of our local farmers, so seeds were lost,” she said. “In my inspection this year through areas like Gumuruk and Likuangole, farmers are not cultivating because there are no seeds, meaning food security this year will be at stake because, by the time seeds arrive, our people will have missed out on the first cultivation season,” Sabila explained.
The agriculture official said the situation is dire. “As we speak, there are already reports of people especially lactating mothers dying because there is no food in rural areas where cattle rearing and crop production are the only livelihoods means. Coming months are really grim ones unless our partners find a way of supporting the livelihoods of the locals,” she noted.
On his part, Kelang Abraham, the GPAA Information minister, said they are ready to farm but they lack seeds.
“For us in Pibor, both government officials and civil population, are ready to farm this year because the security situation is good and also agriculture is the policy of our national government. However, although agriculture activities are going on in some parts of GPAA, the majority of people are not cultivating over the issue of seeds,” he said.
However, James Chacha, the chairperson of the GPAA Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, said aid agencies are responding.
“Our partners are responding in areas of emergency needs like Gumuruk and Likuangole but only that the needs are overwhelming the response,” he said. “On livelihoods, some seeds were to be supplied through Bor but we learnt that trucks were prevented from coming to Pibor by some armed youth on 26 April. So, we are engaging our partners for an alternative route.”